Friday, November 9, 2018


So, you might ask, what is it that I propose to do with all of this knowledge of economics once I finish my studies in the Spring? Well, I have some thoughts about that.

I believe that the world economy will be remade in our lifetimes by machine learning, deep learning, and other technologies broadly characterized as "artificial intelligence". This is not an uncommon belief among technologists but seems to be extremely uncommon among economists and therefore policymakers. That's a dangerous disconnect.

If this AI revolution does indeed come to pass, those who stand to benefit most from it—AI-enabled companies and their shareholders—will be well-prepared for it, while those who stand to be most negatively affected by it—workers—won't even have seen it coming. I therefore see two opportunities for myself, one related to business and the other to public policy.

The business opportunity is clear: create an AI-enabled company. I'm working on that now.

The other opportunity is to have a hand in informing, or at least imagining, policies that will help mitigate the deleterious effects of this economic transformation. When capital can perform an ever-greater share of the work previously done by labor, and the cost of that capital is ever smaller, labor is screwed. This is not an especially novel idea (cough... Marx... cough). But recent advances in AI mean that substitution of capital for labor will accelerate, and in an increasingly broad swath of the economy. Policymakers need to get up to speed.

But before all that I still have one more Labor Econ midterm and a Masterworks of World Drama final to get through. :)

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Beginning of the End

I just registered for classes for my last semester at UT. I have mixed feelings about that.

On the plus side, I only have one more required class to go after this semester: an upper-division Economics elective that has ECO 420K as a prerequisite. I'll satisfy that requirement with either ECO 328 Industrial Organization or ECO 351M Managerial Economics.

I had hoped to satisfy it with Behavioral Economics, but the description for that course has been changed and 420K is no longer a prerequisite for it. Doh! I still want to take it though, so that means I need to take two courses in the Spring.

So I've registered for all three of them:

Meeting TimeTitle

I'll check out both 328 and 351M and drop the one that looks less promising (also taking into consideration the convenience of their meeting times) after a few class meetings.

But like I said, my feelings are mixed. This has been a really fun and rewarding experience. I can see why people become professional students. I'll miss it when I'm gone. That said, after 10-ish years (with a 7-ish year break in the middle), it's time to move on.

[Update]: After learning a little more about all three courses and professors, I dropped 328 and 330T. I could have retained some optionality by waiting to drop them until after a few class meetings, but that seems unfair to other people wanting or needing those classes. 351M sounds like it will be fun.